How many species of freshwater fish in Greece: A new book!

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How many species of freshwater fish in Greece: A new book!

New Checklist May 2015

How many types of freshwater fish are there in Greece?
IMBRW-HCMR ichthyologists have worked for years to answer this question. It's not easy. And that's important.

We're talking about "species" - a seemingly solid taxonomic entity.
Well... not so strong or easy to spot!

The concept of species has evolved. Now, after the concept of phylogenetic species (as opposed to the concept of biological species), the species entity is fixed. A "revolution" hit us in Europe in the summer of 2007 when Maurice Kottelat and Jörg Freyhof published the "Handbook of European Freshwater Fish". This book provides a kind of large-scale assessment of the many new fish species from European coal fields (whitefish, salmon, trout). Suddenly, we have many new species, many of which were officially and/or recognized as subspecies a few months ago. Under the new "evolutionary" approach to species identification, the concept of subspecies is dead. So what do you do when many of these former creatures are given shiny new names when it is already known that our country is rich in fish species? ?

So how many people are there in Greece?

In April 2015, we published our annotated list, closely following our colleagues Maurice and Jörg, conservatively setting the number at 160 species . Our new checklist booklet doesn't claim to be concise. So if you read it, you'll see that we're alluding to the controversy created by the concept of a new species.

How do we see it now?
This is not easy for the following reasons:

a) Some species groups are poorly studied and should be re-evaluated; Research is being carried out that will inevitably increase the number of species, especially where subspecies previously existed. Thus, we expect at least 10 more units to appear within this decade: this is a conservative estimate, but we have strong evidence that new species units have been described in the genera Squalius, Eudontomyzon, Alburnoides, Knipowitschia, Barbatula, Gobio, and Rutilus. and finally. other!

b) Some species are not only created, but can be "grouped" into others and re-evaluated not as species, but at best as original population units. It's possible, but I predict that most of these changes won't happen. There are quite a few fish that fall into this category (one or kobit, I think). New taxonomic work may also suggest that species that may have existed in the country no longer exist because the Greek population includes other species. (In the last revision of the list, we "lost" two species in this way: Salmo dentex and Barbus rebel, recently removed from the Greek fish list).

c) Foreign species. They come and go. We now confirm that 23 species are alien (29 in the last list!). We have shown that some species were never actually identified and we have no evidence for some species that were included in the earlier Greek ichthyofauna lists. This issue requires careful monitoring.

d) Freshwater records of many Mediterranean migratory marine fish are increasing; Of course, the lines are not black and white. Many fish that grow only in marine waters are included in the freshwater list (eg, mullet and eel). And this inclusion of migratory fish is common in most inland wildlife assessments around the world. Some marine fish are common, widespread, and often found in pure freshwater conditions (also called transitional waters) rather than brackish estuaries. According to our 2007 inventory estimates, at least 55 "marine" species are frequent migrants or transients in transitional waters (estuarines, coastal swamps, etc.). So we need to work on the criteria for including the most common and widespread sea crossings in the list of inland waters. I'm sure this will add dozens more fish to the freshwater list within a decade.

Therefore, those aged 160 and 47 are only endemic to Hellas.

What will we do now?

Web-based fish monitoring tool:

We are now building a custom website with all photos/pictures of Greek inland fish. In addition, information on identification, distribution, storage and common names has been added (we have made special efforts to support common name standardization). Web-based tools will also be included in English. The first phase of the project will air after June 2016. So stay tuned for IMBRW:

The Fish Watchlist booklet can be downloaded for free in PDF format at and hard copies can be ordered for library and academic use. The . object

You can order the book for free if you send us a friendly message:

c/o Mrs. Sofia Giakoumi,
Institute of Marine and Inland Biological Sciences - IMBRIW
46.7 km Athens-Sounio, Anavissos, Attiki, GR-19013 Greece
Phone: +30 22910 76393
Aoos River near the Greco-Albanian border: Over the last 10 years, several new species have recently been named and considered in this river. We still have doubts about the valid names of at least some species ( Squalius, Chondrostoma ). Research is needed to clarify the taxonomy of this world-class fish fauna area.
Without genetic research, it would no longer be possible to identify most of the trout species in Greece. There are five native species of trout. Unfortunately, these fish are genetically destroyed by unregulated breeding practices. Harvested fish sometimes show deformities caused by birth (see upper dorsal fin of Acheloos fish caught near the village of Anthousa in 2007).

The endangered Boeotian rifle ( elestes beoticus ). This species has a very narrow distribution and appears to require good water flow - perhaps less frequently than we think. More research is urgently needed. (Photo taken in Livadia in the valley of the Kiffisos river).
One of the most mysterious fish in this part of the world is the Atlantic Anadromo sea lamprey. It was caught by a spear fisherman in Kefalonia. We have anecdotal evidence that fish in the Louros River can spawn elsewhere. It is a protected species and very rare in Greece. (Photo by Tassa Gouzi (Τάσσα), from Kefalonia, downloaded from: The findings are published at .

Goldfish in Greece ... have a wild form? As our book says, maybe not. Perhaps the wild population should be considered extinct. This photo taken from the Aliakmon River near the Polifito reservoir shows the wild form of the goldfish. To my experienced friend Uwe Dussling, it looks a lot like the Donau-Carp type (photo by Alkis Economou).

Manos Sperelakis, Yannis Kapakos and artist and graphic designer Aris Vidalis (right) with books at HCMR.

The pictures in this book were created by our Italian colleague Roberta Barbieri, who has been part of the HCMR team since the late 1980s. This is of course one of the most important aspects of this book, not just decorative. (Mouse).

Finally, a few notes about the new HCMR book :

A new checklist of Greek freshwater fish records was published in April 2015, the last booklet since the popular Economidis checklist in 1991. The 134-page book contains brief introductions and coded commentary reports with attention to 160 species. Particular emphasis is placed on the interpretation of the most recent name changes and the validity of the taxonomy. This book highlights the conservation value of Greek freshwater fish; 47 taxa are considered endemic only in Greece, and there are still large gaps in knowledge of the taxonomy of various species. Many species in the world are threatened and some are already feared to be endangered. An important example is the Vistonis shad ( Alosa vistonica ), endemic to Lake Vistonis, a vast wetland system that suffers from over-absorption, salinization and water pollution. The design of this book is based on teamwork; It was written by 12 members of HCMR and illustrated with great pictures by Roberta Barbieri. Professor Konstantinos I. Stergiou offers and supports initiatives aimed at scientifically establishing and maintaining national fish watch lists.

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And lastly, thanks to everyone who has been very helpful.

First, there are many people who remind us to publish our work - to make our work known. These guys sent us photos and information about fishing spots in Greece - and this book was very much inspired by them.

I would like to thank several people for their hard work in this book. Above all, Alkis Economou, who often reads books with a fine brush. The rest of the team worked hard - it's hard to explain how hard it was not to make a mistake on the checklist! Evan had to check and double-check simple things like fish length. English edited by my good cousin Emily Greene from Minnesota. And finally, Dimitra Bobori, Jörg Freyhof, and Nicolas Bailly did a great job of checking and finding more ambiguities and details. In particular I would like to thank Jörg Freyhof, an experienced naturalist and knowledge of the list. And lastly, our friend Aris Vidalis who has been patiently posting.

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